Communication is important in any relationship. The relationship you currently share with your pet is one of love, enjoyment and fun. You nurture him and make him feel secure in your love by feeding, petting and taking care of him. In a case like this it is a two-way relationship where neither one of you is demanding anything from the other.
Pets that we groom are a different type of a relationship. You need them to cooperate with you so you can groom them in a safe manner. You will need to know how to communicate with the pets on a different level so they cooperate with you. To do this you have to know how dogs communicate with each other.
In most dog relationships there is an Alpha dog, or a leader. The dogs who are the followers will submit to the Alpha dog. During the grooming process, you will have to become the Alpha dog so the dog will submit and cooperate with you. How do you do this? Develop the inner qualities that make the Alpha dog. Attitude, determination, confidence, strength, honor and commitment are the qualities that make an Alpha dog. Most people possess these qualities. You need to become aware of them and use them to establish your position.
An Alpha dog has black and white boundaries, they are confident and they know who they are. They have the determination not to back off, an all-or-nothing attitude and no fear. You have to add the feeling of love and affection. If you do not add the love you will only instill fear in the pet instead of the respect you want. The dog needs to respect and trust your Alpha position. You need to connect with the pet with love, and the quickest way to get in touch with this emotion is to think of your own pet and then transfer that emotional feeling of love to the pet you are grooming.
Once you have connected with the pet on an emotional level, you create a bond between the two of you and if the dog misbehaves you correct him in the same familiar manner you would use with your own pet. If your pet was misbehaving you would correct him firmly with love and not let him have control over the situation. The pet you are grooming will sense your love along with your authority in the same way, and he will trust and respond to you in a positive manner, even if you have to correct him. Your hands are an extension of your emotions and they will help to communicate to the pet what you want him to do.
It is best to not be verbal with the pet. It confuses him, and this can be disruptive to other groomers who are concentrating on their work. You have to get things right within yourself before you can exercise your Alpha position. If you do not the dog will sense weakness and he will take control. Think of yourself as the leader (Alpha) of the pets. Dogs communicate and express their feelings with their body language. Happy feelings will be expressed with cute actions and tail wagging. Challenging, assertive or aggressive behavior will be expressed with growling and challenging body actions.
When you see one dog attempting to challenge another, you will see this type of body language. If one dog does not submit to the other, sometimes a fight will ensue between the two dogs to establish Alpha position. The fight is all about establishing dominance and normally is done with purpose and honor. When one of the dogs submits to the other the fight will end. The only time the fight does not end is when one of the dogs, for some reason, is an unusually aggressive dog, not a true Alpha dog.
This has been explained so you will have an understanding of dog relationships with one another, the way they communicate and how they express their feelings. Do not worry. You do not have to establish your Alpha position in the same manner as the two dogs would. You can use a safe method of handling techniques to establish your position. It is all about developing the Alpha inner qualities, the understanding and use of body language along with safe handling techniques. All of this will develop respect, not fear, from the pet.
Pets are loving and wonderful. You want them to behave so you can groom them in a safe manner and make the grooming experience enjoyable for the pet and yourself. The other thing for you to understand is to not give mixed messages to the pet. The time for hugs and cuddles is when you take the dog out of the cage or when you are through with his grooming. When you are hugging and cuddling him you are telling him it is time to love and play. This is confusing to the pet as he will think his grooming is finished and he can go home. When the pet is on your table he is looking to you to let him know what you want him to do. Make sure you are giving him a clear message.
This small portion is from the Golden Paws Complete Guide to Dog Grooming which has over 600 pages of pictures, illustrations and instructions of step by step learn to groom or improve your dog styling skills. For ordering information go to www.goldenpaws.com or call 888-808-7297.